Evan Spiegel, the Chief Executive Officer of Snap Inc, a camera and a social media company that’s responsible for tech products like Spectacles, a wearable camera and image and multimedia mobile app Snapchat is a big fan of TikTok and thinks it could become bigger than Instagram.
TkTok is a video-sharing social networking service owned by Chinese company Bytedance is a rapidly growing app where users especially Gen Z post short-form videos and best known for its viral dance challenges. The app is already the No. 1 entertainment app on Apple’s App Store(Instagram comes third after YouTube). App Annie ranks the app just behind Instagram in terms of monthly active users. In 2018, Instagram crossed the 1 billion monthly active users. In December, TikTok had 500 million monthly active users
Evan Spiegel on Sunday said that he loved TikTok and that he’s a big fan on the “Bavaria” stage at the annual Digital Life Design Conference in Munich. It’s possible that TikTok could grow bigger than Instagram, he added.
Instagram has already started cloning features from TikTok such as updating Boomerang effects as it tries to catch up with TikTok in terms of creative effects for video.
Mark Zuckerberg has even shared plans to take on the app. “TikTok married short-form, immersive video with browse. So it’s almost like the Explore Tab that we have on Instagram. I kind of think about TikTok as if it were Explore for stories, and that were the whole app … So we have a number of approaches that we’re going to take towards this,” he said in leaked audio recordings.
“We have a product called Lasso that’s a standalone app that we’re working on, trying to get product-market fit in countries like Mexico … We’re trying to first see if we can get it to work in countries where TikTok is not already big before we go and compete with TikTok in countries where they are big, ” he adds regarding Lasso, another standalone app Facebook is working on.
Instagram recently dropped the IGTV homepage button. Very few users were clicking on it and if they were it was by accident so Instagram decided to kill off the dedicated IGTV button. The standalone IGTV app has been downloaded by 1% of Instagram’s members – 1 billion users in the 18 months since launch which is disappointing as in the same period, TikTok received 1.15 billion downloads. Install ads promoted on platforms like Facebook and Instagram have essentially bought users away from its biggest rivals.
“TikTok isn’t about you or what you’re doing. It’s about entertaining your audience. It’s not spontaneous chronicling of your real life. It’s about inventing characters, dressing up as someone else and acting out jokes. It’s not about privacy and friends, but strutting on the world stage. And it’s not about originality — the heart of Instagram. TikTok is about remixing culture — taking the audio from someone else’s clip and reimagining the gag in a new context by layering it atop a video you record,” Josh Constantine of TechCrunch writes on why TikTok is harder to copy than Snapchat and that Mark Zuckerberg misunderstands the huge threat of TikTok.
TikTok is distinct enough that it will be very difficult to shoehorn into Instagram or Facebook, even if they add the remixing functionality meaning that a TikTok clone would have to be somewhat buried in Instagram or Facebook, rebuild a new social graph and retrain users’ understanding of these apps’ purpose at the risk of distracting from their core use cases.